For most, working from home has always seemed like the dream scenario. You get to ditch the commute, sleep in, park yourself on the couch and wear your pyjamas all day.. Right? Well, not exactly. Now that many are being forced to work from their homes as a result of COVID-19, chances are this a big adjustment. Many will wonder how they can stay focused, how to keep in touch with their team and resist procrastination. If this is your first time working from home, use these strategies and tips to help you transition into this new way of working.
- Establish Physical Boundaries and Set Up a Dedicated Workplace
A lot of the advice out there about working from home will suggest that you need a dedicated home office with multiple computer monitors and an expansive desk. Sure, that would be ideal, but that is not a reality for the vast majority of us – especially if you are new to working remotely. You just need a dedicated space. This may be a small desk in your living room, counter space in your kitchen or even your couch.
Although, the couch may not be the best in the long-term for your posture. Additionally, to setting up a dedicated workplace, it is also essential to establish some physical boundaries. For example, if you are working from home with your partner, kids or a roommate, ensure your needs are known. Do not be afraid to let them know that you are camping out in the kitchen or if you require silence during a team meeting. Ensure your work space is free of distractions and is comfortable with lots of natural light too.
- Get Dressed
Because you are working from home and do not have a commute to wake you up, you must help your mindset and body shift from sleep mode into working mode. One simple way to do this is to get dressed. You do not need to dress up as if you are going into the office, unless you want to, you just need to change out of the clothes you slept in.
If you are hopping onto a video meeting with your team or manager, of course wear something more appropriate to look presentable. Otherwise, dress how you would like. There is nothing wrong with wearing leggings or gym shorts all day, as long as you can stay focused and are comfortable. After all, one of the huge perks of working from home is being comfortable, so take full advantage of it.
- Discover the Best Morning Routine for You
Working from home is similar to going into work in that we all have various morning routine preferences. Some like to wake up a minimum of three hours before work so they can read the news, go to the gym and cook a delicious breakfast. Others enjoy sleeping in till as late as possible and spending a small amount of time getting ready for their day.
Since working from home is new to you, you should give yourself a few days to establish your routine. Are you most productive when you wake up early in the morning and workout? Or are you good with sleeping in and waking up just on time to get dressed, brew a coffee and sign on to your laptop? There is no single right way to do this; it is just what works best for you and your own mindset.
- Remain Connected
When working from home, it is incredibly important to keep in touch with your team. If your team currently uses virtual communication tools, ensure you feel comfortable using them. If your team does not use them already, suggest setting some of these channels up to help everyone keep connected.
You may also suggest holding weekly or daily video huddles; since you are not physically sitting with your team, it is crucial to still get face-to-face time. A weekly or morning video check-in will help make sure everyone’s on the same page and keeping productive. Also, keep in mind that working remotely can quickly become isolating.
- Schedule Breaks Throughout Your Day
You may be surprised to discover how quickly the day flies by when you are working remotely. Sure, some hours will crawl, but other times you will find yourself wondering how you missed your lunch. That is why it is crucial to schedule breaks throughout the day. These can be quick, hourly five-minute breaks to throw in a load of washing or stretch, or you may wish to take a 30-minute walk during your lunch.
Keeping active and moving your body is key when it comes to maintaining your energy while working from home. If you are finding it hard to remember to take breaks, set an alarm or timer on your phone. Taking these short breaks will keep you productive, focused and not feel so stir-crazy when the end of the day rolls around.
- Hold Yourself Accountable by Using New Strategies
If you have difficulty keeping focused while working remotely, you are not alone. Your home has billions of distractions and if you are not careful, they can quickly destroy your productivity. That is why you will need to discover new ways to hold yourself accountable. For example, you can begin each morning with a checklist.
Write out attainable goals that you wish to accomplish that day. You can also suggest your team do morning check-ins through a virtual chat. These check-ins can include a short update on your day, as well as anything you hope to achieve that day.
- Have Reliable Technology and a Back-Up Plan If All Fails
When working remotely, it is essential to ensure you have a reliable computer and internet connection. Unfortunately, your company’s IT team will probably not be able to make a house call if you have issues. If for some reason your Wi-Fi is not reliable, consider having a backup option, such as mobile data. With this, you can create a hotspot for your laptop.
- Set Work-Life Boundaries
It is easy for your work to melt into your home life when you work from home. This makes it hard to disconnect at the end of the day. However, unwinding after work is just as crucial when you are remote. Otherwise, you could risk burning out and this is why you need to set some boundaries. Have a dedicated physical workspace at home should definitely help, however, you can also take steps to establish a virtual boundary. For example, turn your work emails and notifications to ‘do not disturb’ until the next day. This will ensure that you have plenty of time to step away from the laptop and collect yourself.
While working from home is a big adjustment for many, there are many advantages to working in this way. Use the above tips to overcome the challenges of working remotely. You will become successful at it in no time!